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Scientific exploration of the Moon

John W. Delano
Scientific exploration of the Moon
Elements (February 2009) 5 (1): 11-16


The Moon is a geochemically differentiated object. It has a feldspathic crust (highlands regions) composed of three petrological suites. Underlying that crust is a compositionally heterogeneous upper mantle from which ferrobasalts and picrites (mare regions) were generated. Lunar samples retain a memory of the time-dependent flux of meteorites and comets, which has implications for the origin of sustainable life on Earth and the orbital evolution of the outer planets. Permanently shadowed regions at the lunar poles may contain reservoirs of volatile ices, which would have important resource potential for scientific bases. Geophysical data show that the Moon has a thick, seismically active lithosphere, a partially molten zone beneath that lithosphere, and a small metallic core. The pace of scientific exploration has quickened since 2003 with the successes of spacecraft from Europe, Japan, the People's Republic of China, and India. Upcoming launches of spacecraft from these same nations and the United States herald a new era of lunar discoveries.

ISSN: 1811-5209
Serial Title: Elements
Serial Volume: 5
Serial Issue: 1
Title: Scientific exploration of the Moon
Author(s): Delano, John W.
Affiliation: State University of New York at Albany, Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Albany, NY, United States
Pages: 11-16
Published: 200902
Text Language: English
Publisher: Mineralogical Society of America and Mineralogical Society of Great Britain and Ireland and Mineralogical Association of Canada and Geochemical Society and Clay Minerals Society, International
References: 39
Accession Number: 2009-034244
Categories: Extraterrestrial geology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus.
Country of Publication: International
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Abstract, copyright, Mineralogical Society of America. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States
Update Code: 200919
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